Smoking: The Effects On Your Oral Health

Thanks to the many smoking awareness campaigns such as the truth campaign the number of smokers in America has declined at a steady pace over the years. However, there are still quite a large number of smokers—over 35 million in the US alone, according to the CDC. You may ask yourself, “why would any blog for cosmetic dentistry practice be blogging about smoking. Isn’t that for oncologists?”

Well, the reason we address smoking and it’s many health risks, is that it can also have a serious impact on your oral health and your teeth. When you’re one of the top practices for cosmetic dentistry in Houston, you see a lot of patients getting solutions for teeth damaged by smoking—so we see the aftermath of this devastating epidemic.

How Smoking Affects Oral Health

While smoking cigarettes or any other tobacco product has a serious impact in many ways on your oral health overall— the most serious way it makes an impact is by increasing your risk of oral infection. When you smoke cigarettes, you mouth loses much of its ability to stave off infection, leaving your mouth and teeth vulnerable to bacteria. These bacteria are then allowed to cultivate and lead to the growth of plaque. When you smoke tobacco, your mouth’s ability to fight off infection is vastly reduced, leaving your mouth vulnerable to bacteria. The resulting bacteria can begin to cultivate, which leads to the growth of plaque.

If you do not visit a Houston dentist regularly to have the plaque removed and the buildup scraped, it can lead to a horde of health issues with varying degrees of destruction such as:

Tooth Discoloration

When you seesomeone with yellowish or brown teeth, what is your first inclination to think about that person? Likely, it’s that they are a smoker. The reason is that thedangerous chemicals in tobacco actually stick to the enamel of the teeth and causethem to stain to varying degrees. While discoloration of the teeth is one of the easiest things to improve with cosmetic dentistry in Houston, if you are a smoker—you will need teeth whitening often and those costs can add up. Factor in the cost of cigarettes as well and you are talking about an expensive habit that costs as much as a down payment on a house annually!

Halitosis or Bad Breath

If you’ve ever conversed with someone after they’ve had a smoke break at work then you know that the distinct smell of “smokers’ breath.” Cigarettes give the gift that keeps on giving, as their smell can linger in the mouth long after actually smoking. In addition to the smell of cigarettes, but because it also contributes to bacteria overgrowth—that overgrowth lead to gum disease and tooth decay both ofwhich are the main source of chronic bad breath or halitosis. Whereas normal morning breath can be vanquished with simple brushing and some mouthwash—halitosis as a result of gum disease cannot. You would need the assistance of a local Houston dentist to get a good cleaning and/or debridement and a prescribed oral hygiene regimen.

Gum Disease

Speaking of gum disease, let us be clear—it’s a lot more serious than just a source of halitosis. If you do not get gum disease under control it can lead to more serious conditions such as the gums actually receding from the teeth. This can—in its most severe form lead to periodontitis which compromises jawbone structure and strength.

Periodontitis is a typically very painful condition in which the bone and tissue that surround the tooth, holding it place, break down and results in teeth rotting or falling out. Even if you have a great oral health hygiene that includes brushing, flossing, andoral rinse—smoking can negate that completely resulting in poor oral health despite your valiant efforts to stave off the health impact of smoking.

Inhibiting Healing

Smoking not only leads to many costly dental procedures and investments in Houston cosmetic dentistry providers— it also inhibits your body’s ability to heal after said procedures. For example, if your smoking led to gum disease that causedyour teeth to fall out and you received dental implants—the healing process would be significantly inhibited or restricted altogether.

Not surprisingly this can lead to some particularly nasty complications such as oral infections, painful ulcers, implant failure and more.

Oral Cancer

As we covered in our last post for Stand Up To Cancer 2018, developing oral cancer is one of the biggest risks you take when smoking cigarettes. When you smoke cigarettes you are exposing your tissue to hundreds, yes hundreds of carcinogens via smoke which penetrates more effectively than in any other form. As a matter of fact, did you know that people who smoke cigarettes have a chance of developing cancer that is six times the odds of non-smokers—nearly 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year alone according to current statistics.

Oral cancer has very definitive warning signs you need to be aware of:

  • White or red blotches in the mouth
  • Pain or trouble chewing or swallowing
  • Jaw numbness or dull pain
  • Earache on just one side or the other

If you experience any of these symptoms either isolated or in tandem—do not hesitate! Make an appointment with a Houston dentist immediately for an oral cancer screening. The earlier in cancer development you catch the disease, the better your odds are at a positive outcome.

Want To Avoid These Health Issues?

Whether you, as a smoker; are experiencing minor halitosis or something more serious like advance gum disease as a result of smoking—Comprehensive Dental Group can help you with deep cleanings, advanced treatment plans, andoral cancer screenings.

However, the absolute most effective way to mitigate your risks of serious oral health issues associated with smoking is to quit. We realize that is often harder than most people understand—So our team can assist you with smoking cessation programs and medication recommendations that can end your nicotine dependence.

Contact us today for an exam and a consultation so we can get you on the road to a smoke-free lifestyle that will ensure you enjoy life for many more years to come.

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